On Wednesday 1/02/2022 CIONET brought together the Finalists of the European Digital Leader of the Year Awards 2023 to discuss how Digital Leaders support the bottom line in times of crisis and announce the Winners of B2B and B2C categories. The panels were moderated by Hendrik Deckers, CIONET’s Founder and Nils Fonstad, Research Scientist at MIT CISR.
The B2B panel consisted of 6 Digital Leaders from the business-focused sector:
The B2C panel consisted of 6 Digital Leaders from the customer-focused sector:
CIONET would like to sincerely congratulate the Winners: Dr. Jochen Göttelmann, CIO at Lufthansa Cargo and Daniel Gebler, Founder & CTO at Picnic, as well as the Runner-ups: Åshild Hanne Larsen, Vice President Subsurface Excellence & Digital at Equinor and Geert Goethals, CIO at Proximus!
The discussion revolved around ways to face financial challenges in this pivotal year and successful strategies that help achieve great business results in times of crisis: increasing wallet share, boosting market share and “doing more with less”.
There was a significant variation between the EDLOTY Finalists, both in the B2B and B2C panel, in terms of their IT budget: while the Digital Leaders from the Energy, Oil & Gas sectors experience an increase in their numbers this year due to geopolitical circumstances, others’ overall budget remains flat or will be reduced in 2023. Some Digital Leaders pointed to the fact that they’re still in an investment / heavy growth phase, therefore their IT budget will be bigger compared to last year.
When asked about the upcoming technological investments that the surplus will be used for, the Finalists pointed to digital transformation, cloud journey and cybersecurity enhancement. The main source of savings for the Digital Leaders was replacing legacy systems and eliminating technical debt helped with saving significant chunks of their IT budgets.
The Finalists shared several proven strategies that generated the most value at their organisations: exploring new business models, cloud implementation which helped develop advanced analytics tools, reach net zero targets and boost efficiency gain. Some others mentioned during the panel included data cleanup, reducing app portfolio and measuring closely the cash flow impact from digital improvement projects.
Main learning mentioned by one of the panellists was that optimising small things adds up to millions and large savings very rarely come from one gigantic change at the organisation. Making changes to e.g. sourcing step by step sometimes brings better results - it’s every dollar that counts.
As for new sources of revenue, Digital Leaders underlined very strongly that IT alignment with business – educating business leaders, tracking complete value chain in cooperation with colleagues, leaders and clients is extremely important and invaluable for the organisation. In many cases, IT teams are used to working in a project-based environment, therefore a closer look into change management towards a value-delivery model can often bring positive results.
Key technologies that contributed to the most significant change in IT budgets was machine learning and AI. A point was raised in the discussion that creating technologies with strong focus on easy and quick scalability can contribute to savings / freeing additional cash flow at some of the organisations. As one of the panellists noted: “Innovation is not always about new technologies, it’s often about unlocking the potential or improving the technology that is already there”.
To end on a positive note, it was mentioned during the panel that some companies have scenarios in case the situation on the markets quickly shifts back to a growth economy and are actively building IT capability to match the demand in such a case.
We’re looking forward to meeting you at the next edition of CIONEXT!